No. 311 Disciplinary Docket No. 1 (Board File No. 25 DB 1980), Attorney Registration No. 21581
Alan J. Davis, Asst. Discip. Counsel, for petitioner.
Richard R. Fink, Doylestown, for respondent.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ.
The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (hereinafter "Board") recommended that respondent, Douglas J. Kissel, be disbarred from the practice of law in the Commonwealth for violations of Disciplinary Rules 7-101(A)(3), 7-102(A)(1), (7) and (8), 9-102(B)(1), (2), (3) and (4), and multiple violations of Disciplinary Rules 1-102(A)(3), (4), (5) and (6).
On May 20, 1980, a Petition for Discipline was filed against respondent by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Hearings were held before Hearing Committee 2.01 and on June 17, 1981, the committee unanimously recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for five years. Exceptions were filed to the recommendation of the hearing committee, and a three-member panel of the Disciplinary Board heard oral argument. Thereafter, on October 28, 1981, the Board issued their report and recommendation, which adopted the hearing committee's findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Board, however, rejected the committee's recommendation of a five-year suspension and instead recommended to this Court that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law.
Pursuant to Pa.R.D.E. 208(e)(2), effective June 27, 1981, we granted respondent's request for oral argument on November 20, 1981. Following argument on January 19, 1982, a thorough review of the record, and careful consideration of the arguments raised in respondent's brief, we conclude, in keeping with the Board's recommendation, that disbarrment is the appropriate sanction in this matter.
The following facts are pertinent. In September, 1977, Mr. Wilmer Lovett (hereinafter "Lovett") hired respondent to represent him in real estate legal matters and in the sale of land owned by Lovett. Respondent was to be paid a 10% commission for all land sold, and this amount was to include payment for respondent's legal representation. Lovett also advanced respondent $1,200 at that time. Respondent subsequently became dissatisfied and proposed other fee arrangements to Lovett. Respondent asserted that Lovett agreed to either sign a promissory note in the amount of $6,930 or pay respondent "out of the next settlement." Lovett never signed the promissory note. In fact, respondent claimed he rejected all other fee proposals. The next settlement was with one Fay Parker (hereinafter "Parker") on December 13, 1978.
On February 9, 1978, respondent wrote to Lovett and stated that "all legal matters are at a stop" until respondent secured an acceptable financial agreement with Lovett. On March 5, ...